autrement dit


photos © Kristin Espinasse. Outside the tasting room at Domaine du Mas de Martin. Looks like someone sampled a few too many... More winos at the end of today's story. Talk about today's photo in the comments section. What do you see? What is missing (what would you like to add)? What kind of chien do we have here?

un tuyau (twee-yoh) noun, masculine
    1. pipeline
    2. tip (insider information)

  un tuyau crevé = a bad tip
  avoir des tuyaux = to be in the know
  c'est un tuyau increvable = straight from the horse's mouth

Audio File: Uncle Jean-Claude was here today for some wine business and I managed to steal him for a few minutes--in time to get this recording! Listen to the French word "tuyau" and to the expressions, above. Download Tuyau . Download Tuyau

Last week, one of my favorite characters returned to help us with our 4th mise en bouteilles* here at Domaine Rouge Bleu. By the end of the day--and 9000 units later--I had learned even more about our unbeatable bottler, Babé (baah-bay).

When the sun came up over Mont Ventoux, pouring light across the field of vines and over a row of rosemary (and one of oliviers*) that flank our driveway, I saw her. She might have been a hunter walking up the dirt path, wearing the colors of combat: the green of the garrigue* and the black of the French forest at night. Hélas,* our heroine wouldn't harm so much as a miserable mouche,* but scold a slacker she would!

DSC_0244 Babé, a retired school teacher, spent many years channeling adolescent energy into creative output. In the process of handling so much hyperactivity, energy welled up within her, inevitably. To this day, Babe can't sit still!

And lucky for us--for when the time comes to churn out 9000 bottles along a powerful production line... il faut avoir du peps!*

We've already talked about Babé's "peps" in a previous post*. For today, we'll learn some tips or "tuyaux" that Babé shared, in between bossing the bottlers around ("Allez, plus vite!* What are you waiting for? Organize yourselves!). Coincidentally, "tuyau" also means "pipe" (perhaps the medium through which Babé "channeled" all that energy?). Here now, are those tips:

5 Tips learned from Babé while bottling our wine

DSC_0248 1. Use a serrated knife--and not a toothless one--to cut tomatoes! (A toothless knife slips! I learned this lesson the hard way, while making lunch for the bottlers)

2. Less is more: start with one sandwich per worker. You can always make more if needed (learned while Babé took over the sandwich-making when I ran off in search of a pansement* for my thumb).

3. For a comfortable pair of pants, look no further than the fishing tackle department at your local sporting goods store (Babé's cost only 10 euros at Décathalon). Check them out in the photo.

4. "T'as raison Gaston"* : just a fun phrase that I heard Babé say. It also shows that, even though she may be bossy, she doesn't pretend to know it all.

5. For happy household plants, bring on the wine! (Add one glass per jug of water).

Read more about Babé, via the link below, and be sure to say hello to her, by leaving your message in the comments box.

And as for that furry feignant, or slacker, in today's photo, I know what Babé would say "Hup two!" or "En avant!"

More Babé stories, here & more photos at the end of this post:

And for those of you who might be interested in purchasing the wine that we have just bottled (!), thanks for check out "Where to Find our Wines" (including our Domaine Rouge-Blue Rose 2008 and 2007 Reds!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
la mise en bouteilles (f) = bottling; un olivier (m) = olive tree; la garrigue (f) = wild Mediterranean scrubland; hélas = alas; une mouche (f) = fly; avoir du peps = to be energetic; post = (see "More Babé stories", above); allez plus vite! = faster!; le pansement (m) = bandage; Tu as raison, Gaston = Darn right, Mike! (maybe you have better translation to add to the comments box? Update: "That's the fact, Jack!")

Cartes Postales: A Delightful Album for Postcards

In French Music: Putumayo Presents: Paris

La Perruche sugar cubes are made in France and have a rich and perfumed taste with hints of honey and vanilla.

With Uncle Jean-Claude:

The bottling machine on wheels!
Babé, not happy when she has to wait for those slow bottles to arrive! Allez, en avant!

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety